Queensland has seen a rapid rise in clearing rates in the last few years..
Current clearing rates are at the highest rate they have been for many years. Official figures indicate that land clearing rates in Queensland have risen from a low point of 78,000 hectares in 2009/10 to 296,000 hectares in 2013/14, and the most recent recording of 392,000 hectares in 2017/18. After a period of decline, this rapid rise in clearing in the last few years can be attributed to changes to laws and regulations by the LNP government. Source: Queensland Government, Remote Sensing Centre, Science Division.
Land clearing law changes allowed for more clearing.
The Newman government ‘took the axe to Queensland’s tree clearing laws’ (their own words), which allowed the clearing of areas that were previously protected. Furthermore, they: reversed the ban on broad-scale clearing; removed protections on ecologically important, rehabilitated woodlands; and reduced the enforcement of regulation and monitoring of land clearing. As a result, the rates of land clearing increased dramatically, giving Queensland the dubious honour for the worst deforestation rates in Australia.
Following community pressure and the incredible work of environmental organisations, the Labor party (during the 2017 Queensland State Election) promised to make the strongest-ever laws to end deforestation in Queensland. The Labor party followed through on this promise, with the Queensland parliament passing a suite of new land-clearing laws in 2018. The Vegetation Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Qld) amends the Vegetation Management Act 1999 (Qld), Planning Act 2016 (Qld) and the Water Act 2000 (Qld), with changes including the increased restrictions/preventions of clearing permits and the extension of some existing protections.” Source: The Guardian, 4 May, 2018.